Special Episode – Milton Keynes LitFest 2017 seminar on literature and roleplaying games

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We’re back with another special recording to tide you over during that long, bleak fortnight between regular episodes. This time, we’re coming to you from MK LitFest 2017, the first ever Milton Keynes literary festival. We recorded this last September, but have been waiting for the ideal time to put it out.

Given the setting, we decided to discuss the connections between fiction and RPGs. The theme for the evening was “Made in Milton Keynes”, so we also wove in some background about the development of Call of Cthulhu 7th edition. Paul may come from Buckingham, but he playtested the game at MK-RPG. Close enough!

Sadly, Matt was unable to take part. He had just returned from a business trip to Stuttgart, bringing a nasty chest infection back with him. Don’t worry — the rest of us didn’t miss out! He shared it prolifically, which is why we sound like Deep Ones on our recordings from late last year.

 

Mike Mason generously took some time out to join us. As line editor of Call of Cthulhu, he had plenty of insights to offer on both strands of the conversation. Also, as he reveals in this episode, he used to live in Milton Keynes, making this some kind of hideous homecoming for him. I’m sure Robert Olmstead would sympathise.

MK LitFest will return in 2018, between Friday the 21st and Monday the 24th of September.

Posted in Call of Cthulhu, H.P. Lovecraft, Horror Stories, Roleplaying Games, The Good Friends of Jackson Elias | Leave a comment

Episode 121 – The Good Friends delve into System Matters

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System Matters

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We’re back and we’re wondering just what it is we’ve been doing with all these dice. Inspired by our mention of Ron Edwards’ System Does Matter essay in our recent episode on Sorcerer, we give some thought to how mechanics shape play.

Having a mechanic lend you a spanner to strike another player can be most useful.

As well as talking about theory, we also try to provide some concrete examples. Specifically, we take a simple scenario premise and discuss how running it with various game systems might create very different experiences.

Such as driving your players screaming from the table.

News

In the news segment, Matt and Paul briefly share their experiences of Dragonmeet 2017. They met a number of listeners there, so thank you to everyone who made themselves known and said hi. If you ever encounter us in the wild, we encourage you to do the same. We rarely bite.

Paul and Scott have been busy recording extra material for our Patreon backers. As we mention in the episode, we have just released the second of our series of Weird Whisperings. These are our recordings of some of the weird tales we’ve discussed on the podcast. The latest release is Paul’s reading of Lovecraft’s The Outsider. There is a short sample at the end of this episode. If you are a backer, please check your email or our Patreon page for details about how you can download your goodies.

Other Stuff

When we recorded our episode about Sorcerer a few months ago, we made a few mistakes. Specifically, we got some key details wrong about the origins of The Forge. Happily, Ron Edwards himself got in touch to correct us. He also provided a short history of the website. Anyone interested in the subject will find his comment illuminating. Simply scroll down to the bottom of the original post to read it.

Also on the subject of Sorcerer, the discussion thread for the episode on our Google+ Community was filled with great ideas. We pick out a few highlights in this episode, but it’s definitely worth reading the whole thing. If you are thinking of playing Sorcerer, you will find plenty of inspiration.

And, once again, we must warn you that there is singing in this episode. We have had a staggering number of $5 backers on Patreon recently and it is taking us a while to craft artisanal sonic nightmares for you all. Please bear with us if you haven’t been subjected to your song yet. Your time will come. Oh yes, it will come.

Posted in Call of Cthulhu, Gaming Conventions, Roleplaying Games, The Good Friends of Jackson Elias | 1 Comment

Episode 120 – The Good Friends play back The Stone Tape

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The Stone Tape

The Stone Tape

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We’re back and we’re watching in helpless terror as echoes of the dead past haunt us, screaming endlessly. This is our look at the classic 1972 British horror film, The Stone Tape. Fittingly, the BBC originally broadcast it as a ghost story for Christmas. We may be a day late on that front, but the nights are still cold and dark, and the air filled with ancient menace.

And weird dancing lights, for some reason.

Although not explicitly Lovecraftian, The Stone Tape shares some themes with Lovecraft’s work, especially in its scientific investigation of the unknown. This is not too surprising, considering the script was written by Nigel Kneale of Quatermass fame _who we mentioned in episode 5). His work is always easy to mine for Call of Cthulhu inspiration, and we cheerfully do so in this episode.

“If you can write a stat block for the Colour Out of Space, you should be able to manage a bunch of spooky lights.”

News

At the time of posting, you only have around 24 hours to back the Idol of Cthulhu Kickstarter Campaign. This features a new scenario from our very own Matt Sanderson, adding new layers of horror to Lovecraft’s tale, The Call of Cthulhu.

And speaking of time-limited offers, you have less than a week to act if you would like a copy of issue 3 of The Blasphemous Tome, the 1980s-style fanzine we produce for our Patreon backers. This is the first issue to be licensed by Chaosium and features a brand-new, fully statted scenario for Pulp Cthulhu. If you would like a copy, simply back us at any pledge level by the end of 2017. The Tome will then find its way into your hands, as if by eldritch and unwholesome magic.

Our good friends over at Chaosium have announced an exciting new scheme. The Miskatonic Repository allows Call of Cthulhu fans to publish and sell their own material, subject to editorial approval. Chaosium have even provided templates and art packs to make the process easier. The first publications are already available, with many more in the pipeline.

And, in a Christmas miracle, Patreon have cancelled the changes to their fee structures. Backers will not be charged extra processing fees, and will continue to pay only the amount they pledge. Even so, we will continue to investigate alternative options for backers. Watch this space for updates.

Other Stuff

We are still working our way through a long list of people to sing our thanks to. This is our hideous way of praising those brave people who back us on Patreon at the $5 level. For reasons of basic human decency, we limit ourselves to two songs per episode. The recent surge of backers brought on by the new Blasphemous Tome means shall we be singing for many episodes to come.

 

Posted in Horror Films, Television, The Blasphemous Tome, The Good Friends of Jackson Elias | 2 Comments

Episode 119 – The Good Friends get more of that old-time Mythos religion

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The Mythos as Religion (Part 2)

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We’re back and we’re starting a cult. No, worse than that — we’re starting three of them! Last episode, we looked at how real religions and their practices might inform our depiction of Mythos sects in Call of Cthulhu. Now we’re taking things one step further. Building on what we’ve learnt, we try to picture what life might look like from within these sects. Then we create three Mythos sects of our own, trying to use our understanding of religion to give them more complex agendas and practices than the usual sacrifices and summonings. We also offer some context by talking about our own religious backgrounds and how they might have shaped our beliefs and prejudices.

We’re traditionalists, on the whole.

News

As Matt mentioned recently, on this very site, he has been asked by Delphes Desvoivres to write a Call of Cthulhu scenario as part of the Idol of Cthulhu Kickstarter campaign. This scenario will be a follow-up to Lovecraft’s story, The Call of Cthulhu, running approximately 20,000 words. It may grow to a more cyclopean stature, depending on stretch goals. The campaign ends on the 27th of December, so act quickly if you want your New Year to be filled with unhallowed idolatry.

You may have seen posts in your social media feeds expressing dissatisfaction with Patreon’s new charging scheme. Patreon have shifted their fees from content creators to patrons, increasing them in the process. While there seem to be some understandable reasons for this, they have handled the entire situation poorly. More importantly, it disproportionately hurts backers who make smaller pledges. As a result, we are currently investigating alternatives to run alongside Patreon, allowing greater choice for backers. We will keep you posted as this develops.

There will be a slight delay in getting issue 3 of The Blasphemous Tome fanzine to our Patreon backers. We received the first batch of the print run late last week, only to discover that it was missing four pages. Getting this resolved shouldn’t take too long and we still hope to get the Tome to most of you before the end of the year. Some backers will receive their Christmas cards ahead of the Tome, as we didn’t want to miss last posting dates. If your envelope is suspiciously Tomeless, don’t worry — our unspeakable blasphemies shall take to the ghoul winds and find their way to you soon.

Other Stuff

There will be a lot of singing over the next few months. Thanks to the imminent release of the third Blasphemous Tome, we have had a surge of new Patreon backers. Many of these people have been generous and brave enough to pledge at the $5 level. This means that we currently have a backlog of around 10 people to praise through song. Putting more than two songs in an episode risks our vocal cords, your sanity and the very fabric of the universe. It is only prudent for us to work our way through these thanks cautiously. With great cacophony comes great responsibility. If you are still waiting, please bear with us — your song will come soon. Enjoy the sense of creeping dread until then.

Posted in Call of Cthulhu, Kickstarter, Roleplaying Games, The Blasphemous Tome, The Good Friends of Jackson Elias, Unholy Artefacts | 2 Comments

The Idol of Cthulhu Kickstarter

Good evening everyone!

At the time of writing, the Kickstarter for The Idol of Cthulhu has gone live!

I was contacted a little while ago by Delphes Desvoivres – the organizer of the Props of Nyarlathotep (New York & Kenya, London & Cairo) and Sedefkar Simulacrum Kickstarters – and invited to write a scenario that would accompany the Idol of Cthulhu sculpture that they plan to produce.

The scenario will be a sequel to the original The Call of Cthulhu story by HP Lovecraft. How long the scenario becomes will be determined by stretch goals for the campaign. The scenario will have multi-media components – the sculpture itself can be used as a key physical prop, and audio recordings will be provided by none other than the immensely talented HP Lovecraft Historical Society! Needless to say, I’m rather excited about this project and can’t wait to see how far it goes.

Stretch goals coming up include: maps of Providence and Rhode Island; cards featuring the likeness of the NPCs; expanded content for the scenario; creation of another prop for the scenario, the “Call of Cthulhu” manuscript, as written by the late Francis Wayland Thurston of Boston.

At the time of writing, the Kickstarter campaign went live about three hours ago and is more than 80% of the way to its initial target of €5,000, and has 20 days to run. The campaign ends on 27th December 2017.

Posted in Call of Cthulhu, Kickstarter | Leave a comment